Science Inventory



To develop an analytical method suitable for monitoring NDMA at ng/L concentrations in drinking water by the end of FY05. Ideally, the method should be simple and rugged enough to be applicable to compliance monitoring in the event that NDMA becomes a regulated contaminant under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). At a minimum the method must be suitable for gathering nationwide occurrence data that can be used in the regulatory decision making process.


N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), a by-product of the manufacture of liquid rocket fuel, has recently been identified as a contaminant in several California drinking water sources. The initial source of the contamination was identified as an aerospace facility. Subsequent testing at other drinking water facilities identified NDMA present at very low levels. In these cases, preliminary data indicated that NDMA may also be a drinking water disinfection by-product (DBP). Agency risk assessments indicate that the concentration representing the 1 in 1,000,000 cancer risk level for NDMA in drinking water is 0.7 ng/L, so that even low levels of this chemical could produce significant health effects for consumers. NDMA is miscible with water, and therefore is difficult to isolate and concentrate from water samples. Currently, there is no standard method for the analysis of NDMA at low concentrations. Although the State of California is currently requiring monitoring, a number of different laboratories are performing the analysis by various methodologies. All of the current methodologies are time consuming and expensive, with a cost of about $500 per sample.

Because of recent interest in NDMA as a drinking water contaminant, it is likely that it will be listed on the 2003 Contaminant Candidate List (CCL). Assuming that NDMA does appear on the next CCL, nationwide occurrence data will be needed by OGWDW to make a regulatory determination. Under this task, an analytical method with known precision, accuracy, and detection limits will be developed for NDMA. Ideally, a method that is less costly than current techniques can be developed. The method will be delivered to the Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water (OGWDW) for promulgation under its Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Regulations (UCMR). OGWDW is currently using the UCMR to obtain needed occurrence data on CCL contaminants.

Record Details:

Record Type: PROJECT
Start Date: 10/01/2002
Projected Completion Date: 03/01/2005
Record ID: 18339